How's your cholesterol level? If you say good, then congratulations, you are one of the few people who know how important it is to maintain proper levels of cholesterol. Now if you are unsure or you suspect it to be bad, it's time that you visit your doctor for a check-up and do something about your cholesterol level.
Cholesterol, which is a waxy and fatty substance made in the liver and transported to the bloodstream, is needed by the body to function properly. However, when a person's cholesterol increases way beyond its normal level, it can increase the risks of heart diseases and stroke.
Cholesterol comes in various types. Two of these are the LDL and HDL.
LDL, which means low-density lipoprotein, is the "bad" cholesterol. Its level should be kept to 130 milligrams per deciliter of blood so that you won't have any problems with your health.
HDL or high density lipoprotein on the other hand, is known as the "good cholesterol" as this decreases risks of coronary heart diseases. It should be at least 25 percent of the total cholesterol.
To lower down levels of bad cholesterol in your blood, here are the things that you should do now.
Regular physical activity can immediately lower bad cholesterol in your body. When you say exercise, you don't necessarily have to sweat the whole day in the gym. Even moderate forms such as brisk walking can do wonders for your health. If you're in the office the whole day, take a fifteen-minute break to stretch your arms and legs or to do a couple of squats. Instead of using the elevator, climb the stairs. During the weekend, organize a sporting event, group jogging, or any other physical activity with your family and friends. This won't only make you feel energized, but would also be beneficial for your heart and health.
Stay Away from Saturated Fat
Choose smart fats over saturated ones. Forgo the vegetable oil, butter, margarine or lard when cooking, and stick to canola or olive oil. Eat fish more often than red meat like beef. Saturated fat, which is found mostly in animal-based foods, solidifies when cooled. Unsaturated fat, meanwhile, remains fluid no matter what the temperature is. When you look at hardened saturated fat, it's easy to imagine how it would form a plaque in your arteries that can result in heart attack or stroke.
Snack on Fiber
Instead of munching on a bag of salty chips that won't do any good for your health, choose to snack on fibrous fruits, vegetables and whole grains, which are rich in cholesterol-reducing dietary fiber. Soluble fiber, for example, is excellent in lowering down cholesterol levels by acting like a sponge that absorbs bad cholesterol. Dried beans, barley and oats are just few of the many good sources of soluble fiber.
Talk to your Doctor
Modifying your lifestyle can surely do good for anyone who has high cholesterol levels. But if you are at risk of any cardiovascular disease, you cannot take this matter on your own hands and you must consult your doctor right away, who will prescribe you with a cholesterol-lowering drug. These types of medication include bile acid resins, niacin and fibrates.